Maretron N2K Data System – Starting to Make Sense


Extensive N2K data systems, like we use in the FPBs, are costly, and take a substantial programming effort on our part. Yes, they provide a lot of information (and you need to guard against info overload), but is the cost and complexity worth it?

After all, we’ve done fine without, or with a very limited system in the past.

The question is further exacerbated by the tendency of many, ourselves included, to take something like this N2K system and expand it, because it is cool. To be frank, we initially thought the system a mistake for our needs when we first started sea-trials with Cochise. However, we have come to appreciate its virtues, and have worked with the good folks at Maretron to fine-tune some of their software to the needs of the short-handed cruising community.

We are still a month or more away from completing our programming, and as we continue to cruise there is no doubt we will modify the system to make it more in line with what we are after. So, for now, a couple of comments:

First, the system is easy to program and create custom pages. Maretron have done a commendable job in making this a user friendly process.

Properly installed, and this takes a bit of care and planning, once up and running the systems tend to be stable.

The lead photo is the 55’’ Samsung monitor on the Matrix deck. It is installed with a wall mount bolted directly to the aluminum coaming. The wall mount articulates so it can be angled forward or aft, and tilted. The lead photo is the basic home screen setup. With virtually everything available on the system included, it can be too much too look at. However, now with the colored digital readouts, the colors change as data changes within user set ranges. This makes it easy to spot trouble. Yellow means take a look, red means take action now. The color changes are easily programmed. We like this approach because it is hard to ignore. This data is broken up into a series of pages with information on maneuvering, electrical loads, and the like.


This is the tank recap page. Here you will find data from each of the eight tanks aboard.

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As we are now into cruising mode, we have been taking in the countryside. The boat watching is extraordinary, enhanced by the J-Boat championships about to unfold.

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It is going to be a real treat seeing the Js racing next week!

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The variety of boats to admire is extraordinary. From this topsail schooner…

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…to this avant garde tilting keel ketch (designed in the early 1980s) trying out her new wardrobe of North Sails…

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…to this powerful modern cutter. Newport, Rhode Island, and environs is a photographer’s and boat doodler’s delight.


And even if you don’t care for motorboats, there are some interesting shapes to study.

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It is often hard to pick a favorite from the day’s images. However, sitting in the warm confines of our office aboard Cochise on this rainy, cold, summer day, it is easy–this lovely little short-ended ketch.


We would write more, but an early morning departure has the crew of Cochise thinking about a nap. We are, after all, cruising.

The J-boats begin their championships Tuesday and we shall be in observance. Stay tuned for reports.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 18, 2017)

10 Responses to “Maretron N2K Data System – Starting to Make Sense”

  1. David Guest Says:

    hmmmm… I think you mislabeled the tank page. Looks like it is the electrical summary page ….

    It is an awful lot of data…


  2. admin Says:

    Thanks for the heads up, David — screenshot replaced!

  3. Whit Miller Says:

    Hi Steve,

    Are you going to be anywhere near the Cape Cod Canal in your voyage ? I would give anything to see Cochise 😉

    Kind regards,
    Whit Miller

  4. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Whit:
    Saturday or Sunday. Keep an eye on the AIS.

  5. Juergen Says:

    Great Information.. For one thing I do sort of Like the Information Overload..
    If the system can tell you everything that you need to know and automatically Flip to anything that say goes from Green to Yellow then that is what you Need.. The mere fact that it has 3 states of notification is Great..

    I do Love the Last Picture of the Sea Hawk.. as it fly’s by.. Great Photo

  6. Juergen Says:

    Need to add a correction.. Think the second Photo relates to the Batteries… Not the Tank’s..
    From my own prospective, can you please explain the charge cycle that you use for the House Batteries..?
    – Looking @ Both alternator’s — One is charging @ 109Amp’s and the other is 253Amp’s

  7. Andy Says:

    Wow, impressive array of sensor readings to look at! Do you have to program these screens only once, I mean same screens do they also work for example on android tablets you seem to have? Also on main screen I dont see EGT anywhere, I would have that in the middle and in largest possible font myself!… And thanks for excellent photos!

  8. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Andy:
    Check out Maretron’s website for their Android/IOS apps. They are very cool. Data can be copied and pasted into other screens. We will end up with eight to ten when complete.

  9. Craig Says:

    Looking for your tank recap page photo, the electrical systems recap page photo was able to sneak in.

  10. admin Says:

    We replaced the screen, Craig — thanks for noticing.